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Notice

Cheniere Midstream Holdings, Inc.; Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Planned Midcontinent Supply Header Interstate Pipeline Project, Request for Comments on Environmental Issues, and Notice of Public Scoping Sessions

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The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will discuss the environmental impacts of the Midcontinent Supply Header Interstate Pipeline Project (MIDSHIP Project) involving construction and operation of facilities by Cheniere Midstream Holdings, Inc. (Cheniere Midstream) in Kingfisher, Canadian, Grady, Garvin, Stephens, Carter, Johnston, and Bryan Counties, Oklahoma and leased capacity on existing pipeline infrastructure in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. The Commission will use this EIS in its decision-making process to determine whether the project is in the public convenience and necessity.

This notice announces the opening of the scoping process the Commission will use to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the project. You can make a difference by providing us with your specific comments or concerns about the project. Your comments should focus on the potential environmental effects, reasonable alternatives, and measures to avoid or lessen environmental impacts. Your input will help the Commission staff determine what issues they need to evaluate in the EIS. To ensure that your comments are timely and properly recorded, please send your comments so that the Commission receives them in Washington, DC on or before February 27, 2017.

If you sent comments on this project to the Commission before the opening of this docket on November 9, 2016, you will need to file those comments in Docket No. PF17-3-000 to ensure they are considered as part of this proceeding.

This notice is being sent to the Commission's current environmental mailing list for this project. State and local government representatives should notify their constituents of this planned project and encourage them to comment on their areas of concern.

If you are a landowner receiving this notice, a pipeline company representative may contact you about the acquisition of an easement to construct, operate, and maintain the planned facilities. The company would seek to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. However, if the Commission approves the project, that approval conveys with it the right of eminent domain. Therefore, if easement negotiations fail to produce an agreement, the pipeline company could initiate condemnation proceedings where compensation would be determined in accordance with state law.

A fact sheet prepared by FERC entitled “An Interstate Natural Gas Facility on My Land? What Do I Need to Know?” is available for viewing on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov). This fact sheet addresses a number of typically asked questions, including the use of eminent domain and how to participate in the Commission's proceedings.

Public Participation

For your convenience, there are four methods you can use to submit your comments to the Commission. The Commission will provide equal consideration to all comments received, whether filed in written form or provided verbally. The Commission encourages electronic filing of comments and has expert staff available to assist you at (202) 502-8258 or efiling@ferc.gov. Please carefully follow these instructions so that your comments are properly recorded.

(1) You can file your comments electronically using the eComment feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Start Printed Page 9065 Documents and Filings. This is an easy method for submitting brief, text-only comments on a project;

(2) You can file your comments electronically by using the eFiling feature on the Commission's Web site (www.ferc.gov) under the link to Documents and Filings. With eFiling, you can provide comments in a variety of formats by attaching them as a file with your submission. New eFiling users must first create an account by clicking on “eRegister.” If you are filing a comment on a particular project, please select “Comment on a Filing” as the filing type; or

(3) You can file a paper copy of your comments by mailing them to the following address. Be sure to reference the project docket number (PF17-3-000) with your submission: Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Room 1A, Washington, DC 20426.

(4) In lieu of sending written or electronic comments, the Commission invites you to attend one of the public scoping session(s) its staff will conduct in the project area, scheduled as follows:

Date and timeLocation
Monday, February 13, 2017, 4:00 to 8:00 p.mDonald W. Reynolds Community Center, 323 West Beech Street, Durant, OK 74701, (580) 924-3486.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 4:00 to 8:00 p.mArdmore Convention Center, 2401 North Rockford Road, Ardmore, OK 73401, (580) 226-2862.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 4:00 to 8:00 p.mElmore City Community Center, 104 S Main Street, Elmore City, OK 73433, (580) 788-2345.
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 4:00 to 8:00 p.mRedlands Community College, 1300 South Country Club Road, El Reno, OK 73036, (405) 262-2552.

The primary goal of these scoping sessions is to have you identify the specific environmental issues and concerns that should be considered in the EIS to be prepared for this project. Individual verbal comments will be taken on a one-on-one basis with a court reporter. This format is designed to receive the maximum amount of verbal comments, in a convenient way during the timeframe allotted.

Each scoping session is scheduled from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. You may arrive at any time after 4:00 p.m. There will not be a formal presentation by Commission staff when the session opens. If you wish to speak, the Commission staff will hand out numbers in the order of your arrival; distribution of numbers will be discontinued at 7:00 p.m. Please see appendix 1 for additional information on the session format and conduct.[1]

Your scoping comments will be recorded by the court reporter (with FERC staff or a representative present) and become part of the public record for this proceeding. Transcripts will be publicly available on FERC's eLibrary system (see below for instructions on using eLibrary). If a significant number of people are interested in providing verbal comments in the one-on-one settings, a time limit of 5 minutes may be implemented for each commentor.

It is important to note that verbal comments hold the same weight as written or electronically submitted comments. Although there will not be a formal presentation, Commission staff will be available throughout the comment session to answer your questions about the environmental review process. Representatives from Cheniere Midstream will also be present to answer project-specific questions.

Please note this is not your only public input opportunity; please refer to the review process flow chart in appendix 2.

Summary of the Planned Project

Cheniere Midstream plans to construct and operate about 218.4 miles of mainline and lateral natural gas pipeline and appurtenant facilities from Okarche to Bennington, Oklahoma, and to lease approximately 353.0 miles of existing pipeline capacity.

Zone 1 of the MIDSHIP Project would consist of the following facilities in Oklahoma:

  • Approximately 198.1 miles of new 36-inch-diameter mainline pipeline in Kingfisher, Canadian, Grady, Garvin, Stephens, Carter, Johnston, and Bryan Counties;
  • approximately 20.3 miles of new 24-inch-diameter lateral pipeline (referred to as the “Chisholm Lateral”) in Kingfisher County;
  • three new compressor stations, totaling 124,710 horsepower, in Canadian, Garvin, and Bryan Counties;
  • nine receipt and two delivery meter stations in Kingfisher, Canadian, Grady, Garvin, and Bryan Counties; and
  • other appurtenant facilities.

Zone 2 of the MIDSHIP Project would involve 353.0 miles of existing pipeline capacity leased from the Midcontinent Express Pipeline LLC, and/or Gulf Crossing Pipeline Company LLC pipelines, operated by Kinder Morgan and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP, respectively.[2] The planned leased capacity would begin at Bennington, Oklahoma, and end at interconnects in the Perryville Hub area near Tallulah, Louisiana.

According to Cheniere Midstream, the two-zone system would provide about 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP) and Sooner Trend Anadarko Basin Canadian and Kingfisher (STACK) plays in Oklahoma to growing Gulf Coast markets via deliveries to existing market hubs near Atlanta, Texas and Perryville, Louisiana. The general location of the planned project facilities is shown in appendix 3.

Land Requirements for Construction

Construction of the planned facilities would disturb about 3,003 acres of land for the new mainline, Chisholm Lateral, and aboveground facilities. Cheniere Midstream would maintain about 1,431 acres for permanent operation of the MIDSHIP Project's facilities following construction; the remaining acreage would be restored and revert to former uses. About 66 percent of the planned mainline route and about 93 percent of the Chisholm Lateral route parallel existing pipeline or utility rights-of-way. Cheniere Midstream would not construct any new facilities or facility expansions as part of Zone 2.

The EIS Process

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires the Commission to take into account the environmental impacts that could result from an action Start Printed Page 9066whenever it considers the issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. NEPA also requires us [3] to discover and address concerns the public may have about proposals. This process is referred to as scoping. The main goal of the scoping process is to focus the analysis in the EIS on the important environmental issues. By this notice, the Commission requests public comments on the scope of the issues to address in the EIS. We will consider all filed comments during the preparation of the EIS.

In the EIS we will discuss impacts that could occur as a result of the construction and operation of the planned project under these general headings:

  • Geology and soils;
  • water resources, fisheries, and wetlands;
  • vegetation and wildlife;
  • endangered and threatened species;
  • socioeconomics;
  • land use;
  • cultural resources;
  • air quality and noise;
  • public safety; and
  • cumulative impacts.

We will also evaluate possible alternatives to the planned project or portions of the project, and make recommendations on how to lessen or avoid impacts on the various resource areas.

Although no formal application has been filed, we have already initiated our NEPA review under the Commission's pre-filing process. The purpose of the pre-filing process is to encourage early involvement of interested stakeholders and to identify and resolve issues before FERC receives an application. As part of our pre-filing review, we have begun to contact some federal and state agencies to discuss their involvement in the scoping process and the preparation of the EIS.

The EIS will present our independent analysis of the issues. We will publish and distribute the draft EIS for public comment. After the comment period, we will consider all timely comments and revise the document, as necessary, before issuing a final EIS. To ensure we have the opportunity to consider and address your comments, please carefully follow the instructions in the Public Participation section, beginning on page 2.

With this notice, we are asking agencies with jurisdiction by law and/or special expertise with respect to the environmental issues related to this project to formally cooperate with us in the preparation of the EIS.[4] Agencies that would like to request cooperating agency status should follow the instructions for filing comments provided under the Public Participation section of this notice.

Consultations Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act

In accordance with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, we are using this notice to initiate consultation with the applicable State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPO), and to solicit their views and those of other government agencies, interested Native American tribes, and the public on the project's potential effects on historic properties.[5] We will define the project-specific Area of Potential Effects (APE) in consultation with the SHPOs as the project develops. On natural gas facility projects, the APE at a minimum encompasses all areas subject to ground disturbance (examples include construction right-of-way, contractor/pipe storage yards, compressor stations, and access roads). Our EIS for this project will document our findings on the impacts on historic properties and summarize the status of consultations under section 106.

Currently Identified Environmental Issues

We have already identified several issues that we think deserve attention based on a preliminary review of the planned facilities, the environmental information provided by Cheniere Midstream, and comments received at the project open houses. This preliminary list of issues may change based on your comments and our analysis:

  • Impacts on water wells;
  • threatened and endangered species;
  • geological hazards; and
  • pipeline route alternatives.

Environmental Mailing List

The environmental mailing list includes federal, state, and local government representatives and agencies; elected officials; environmental and public interest groups; Native American Tribes; other interested parties; and local libraries and newspapers. This list also includes all affected landowners (as defined in the Commission's regulations) who are potential right-of-way grantors, whose property may be used temporarily for project purposes, or who own homes within certain distances of aboveground facilities, and anyone who submits comments on the project. We will update the environmental mailing list as the analysis proceeds to ensure that we send the information related to this environmental review to all individuals, organizations, and government entities interested in and/or potentially affected by the planned project.

Copies of the completed draft EIS will be sent to the environmental mailing list for public review and comment. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of the document instead of the CD version or would like to remove your name from the mailing list, please return the attached Information Request (appendix 4).

Becoming an Intervenor

Once Cheniere Midstream files its application with the Commission, you may want to become an “intervenor,” which is an official party to the Commission's proceeding. Intervenors play a more formal role in the process and are able to file briefs, appear at hearings, and be heard by the courts if they choose to appeal the Commission's final ruling. An intervenor formally participates in the proceeding by filing a request to intervene. Motions to intervene are more fully described at http://www.ferc.gov/​resources/​guides/​how-to/​intervene.asp. Instructions for becoming an intervenor are in the “Document-less Intervention Guide” under the “e-filing” link on the Commission's Web site. Please note that the Commission will not accept requests for intervenor status at this time. You must wait until the Commission receives a formal application for the project.

Additional Information

Additional information about the project is available from the Commission's Office of External Affairs, at (866) 208-FERC, or on the FERC Web site (www.ferc.gov) using the eLibrary link. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the docket number, excluding the last three digits in the Docket Number field (i.e., PF17-3). Be sure you have selected an appropriate date range. For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at FercOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or toll free Start Printed Page 9067at (866) 208-3676, or for TTY, contact (202) 502-8659. The eLibrary link also provides access to the texts of formal documents issued by the Commission, such as orders, notices, and rulemakings.

In addition, the Commission offers a free service called eSubscription which allows you to keep track of all formal issuances and submittals in specific dockets. This can reduce the amount of time you spend researching proceedings by automatically providing you with notification of these filings, document summaries, and direct links to the documents. Go to www.ferc.gov/​docs-filing/​esubscription.asp.

Public sessions or site visits will be posted on the Commission's calendar located at www.ferc.gov/​EventCalendar/​EventsList.aspx along with other related information.

Finally, Cheniere Midstream has established toll-free telephone numbers ((888) 214-7275 for general inquiries or (800) 305-2466 for landowner inquiries) and an email support address (midship@cheniere.com) so that parties can contact them directly with questions about the project. You may also refer to Cheniere Midstream's project Web site for additional information at http://www.cheniere.com/​pipelines/​midship/​.

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Dated: January 27, 2017.

Kimberly D. Bose,

Secretary.

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Footnotes

1.  The appendices referenced in this notice will not appear in the Federal Register. Copies of the appendices were sent to all those receiving this notice in the mail and are available at www.ferc.gov using the link called “eLibrary” or from the Commission's Public Reference Room, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, or by calling (202) 502-8371. For instructions on connecting to eLibrary, refer to the last page of this notice.

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2.  Cheniere Midstream will determine the system or systems on which pipeline capacity would be leased prior to submission of a certificate application.

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3.  “We,” “us,” and “our” refer to the environmental staff of the Commission's Office of Energy Projects.

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4.  The Council on Environmental Quality regulations addressing cooperating agency responsibilities are at Title 40, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1501.6.

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5.  The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation regulations are at Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800. Those regulations define historic properties as any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

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[FR Doc. 2017-02223 Filed 2-1-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6717-01-P